City, senator, state offices push to keep Tenneco in Kettering

State and local officials said Friday they are seeking to keep Tenneco in Kettering after the business a day earlier announced plans to close the plant that is home to about 650 jobs.

The automobile parts producer’s plans surprised many local and state leaders, including Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.

He called on “JobsOhio and its partners are working to engage with Tenneco to explore solutions on how the company can succeed in Kettering.”

When asked what options may be available, DeWine spokeswoman Jill Del Greco said in a Friday afternoon email that “the help that JobsOhio can provide varies based on the specifics” and she couldn’t “speculate about what type of help could potentially apply in this situation.”

DeWine called Ohio’s automotive workforce “second to none, and the Kettering facility lies within a day’s drive of 70 percent of current North American auto assembly plants.”

JobsOhio on Friday declined to comment on Tenneco. The company said Thursday it plans to close its 2555 Woodman Drive site before 2024, citing an unsustainable business given current economic and market factors.

An executive representing Tenneco site landowner Industrial Realty Group said Friday the tenant’s plans were not widely known.

“We didn’t really have a plan for this to happen,” said Dean Miller, senior vice president for Industrial Commercial Properties, which partners with IRG on the property.

Miller said he expects Tenneco will honor the lease, the details of which weren’t available Friday.

“We have no reason that I’m aware of to believe otherwise at all,” he said.

“I would assume that they’ll fulfill their obligation or try to negotiate something that we both agree to — not just unilaterally break their agreement,” Miller added.

Meanwhile, state Sen. Niraj Antani said he has talked with JobsOhio about efforts to keep the jobs in Kettering.

Kettering’s “main focus is working with state and regional entities to provide assistance for the employees and families impacted” by the announcement, City Manager Mark Schwieterman said in a released statement Friday.

And “taking every opportunity possible to keep Tenneco here is part of that goal,” according to the city.

The company told Kettering officials Thursday morning it would be “winding down” operations after next year with plans to shut down before 2024, Schwieterman said.

Schwieterman said the city’s “first indication about the closure” came Thursday morning.

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